Tribute To My Grandfather
March 17, 2017
Simple Pleasures
November 4, 2019

Lessons from Ironman

During my entrepreneurial journey, I like so many took a huge hit after the 2008 economic crash. It started a journey of health and wellness as a distraction, and along the way I learned these lessons and grew back to where we were and beyond.


Ironman is Hard, it’s a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run and must be completed in 17 hours. Growing a business is Hard, but it doesn’t have to be.


  1. See the Finish line: I needed to visualize the finish line and what it would look like, sounded like, felt like, tasted like and play it in my mind over and over until it felt real. This was the leverage I needed to believe that I could finish an Ironman. Clarity is key. Where are you going to be in your business in 3 years? Describe it in vivid detail.
  2. Have a purpose bigger than yourself: I had two kids at the time that were 3 and 5 who were running circles around me and I wasn’t sure if I had what it took to keep up with them and be the best dad I could be. Today, I run circles around them and will for a longtime. When your employees are aligned with the purpose of the company, it’s like an alarm clock that gets them out of bed in the morning and they can’t wait to get come and make it happen.
  3. Hire a coach: I hired Simon Lessing of Boulder Coaching, world champ with the most wins at the time and he held the record at the Lake Placid. Someone has been there before, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. This can be a coach, mentor, Consultant, advisor or Board.
  4. Failure to plan is Planning to Fail: This was a key reason for hiring a coach, I had no idea what was involved. Getting your team to help design the plan allows them to take ownership. Many spend more time planning a vacation than we do in our lives and business, crazy.
  5. It takes a village: It’s a long day to stand around for an Ironman, it’s like the worst parade ever. It however is not the race day that is the challenge for those around you, it’s all the time put in for the months leading into the big day. Having everyone aligned and a part of the journey is critical, or it can get off the rails in a heartbeat. I learned to thank everyone on the course during the day, family, friends, the crowd, racers, volunteers, staff and local officials. Who are the people that are supporting you along the way? Offer thanks and appreciation to all who help make your dream and vision of building a great company come true, its means more than you think to them.
  6. Have the right equipment: the right bike fit, the right shoes, a comfortable wetsuit and many more things are critical to happy training and races. Not only do we need the right people in the right seats at work, but do they have everything they need to be the best they can be. Tools, resources, education are investments in growing your peeps, invest in them or someone else will.
  7. Take care of yourself: With all the training and going on, many athletes get injured as a result of poor nutrition and lack of stretching and regular massage. Getting the sleep I needed, eating right and listening to my body. The same is true at work, while many want to wear busy as a badge of honor, results is where it’s at. 60 plus hour weeks can do their toll on your team. Without taking the time needed to relax, refresh and recharge, we become less productive and effective . Unplug at night, take the weekends off, don’t check email outside of business hours, look up and enjoy the world, best experience ever.
  8. Know your #’s: bike power number in watts, my speed in the pool per 100 yards, my mile/5k and 10k pace and so many more numbers were part of this journey. Data, metrics and Cash flow are the important numbers we must know to make the right decisions. How they all affect each other is equally important. If on the bike I produce too much power during the ride, it will negatively affect my run. How does long hours at work affect your teams results and spirit.
  9. Accountability: I worked closely with a coach online and at the end of every work out, I upload my Garmin file and notes for the coach. Future workouts and goals were based on this feedback. The same became true at work, we started to track all of the important data and have conversations about the numbers that mattered and the actions that were driving them. This regular communication with my coach was critical. Daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings at work slowly became the norm.
  10. Celebrate the Journey: If we are not having fun at what we are doing, maybe we are doing it wrong. Enjoying the journey and sharing it with others has proven to be such a blessing. It has inspired others, it has fueled my soul, it has changed me forever and I have learned that “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” How are you celebrating your journey and wins?


Prior to this journey, I was working 60-80 hour weeks in my business, after implementing much of these ideas, tools and principles, I found myself only needing 10-20 hours to be as productive or better. I have since completed 8 Full Ironman races, grew the company back to bigger than it was before the crash and then had a successful exit from that company.


Kris Kaplan is an lifetime entrepreneur, Business Coach, speaker and author who plays full out, believes that Anything is Possible and loves to help others Kickstart Clarity on where they are going and how to get there.  Check out www.kriskaplan.com for more info.